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7 Career Tracks with a Respiratory Therapy Degree

If you’re considering a respiratory therapy job in this rewarding area of the healthcare field, check out these potential career tracks with a respiratory therapy degree from Saint Leo University.

A professional working in a respiratory therapy job helping a patient for the blog article on career tracks with a respiratory therapy degree from Saint Leo University

If you want to work in healthcare, now is a good time to pursue a career in respiratory therapy as the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects these types of positions to increase 23 percent by the year 2030. This would result in approximately 31,100 new respiratory therapy jobs during this time.

A respiratory therapist spends their day helping patients with lung-based issues or disorders to breathe more easily. This begins with assessing the patient’s breathing capacity, then devising a treatment program based on the type and severity of their condition.

With a respiratory therapy degree, you can pursue a variety of different career tracks. Here are a few to consider.

Respiratory Therapy Job #1: Adult Respiratory Therapist

Adults with chronic lung conditions such as emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) often see a respiratory therapist for routine care. In this respiratory therapy job, you might work in an inpatient or outpatient healthcare setting. Hospitals, home care agencies, and outpatient healthcare providers all hire adult respiratory therapists.

Respiratory Therapy Job #2: Pediatric Respiratory Therapist

Do you have a soft spot for kids and want to work primarily with this demographic? If so, you can use your respiratory therapy degree as a pediatric respiratory therapist. In this position, you could work with newborns who have respiratory issues or underdeveloped lungs. Or you might work with young children or adolescents who’ve been diagnosed with asthma. Pediatric respiratory therapists can be found in hospitals and outpatient care facilities.

Respiratory Therapy Job #3: Geriatric Respiratory Therapist

Maybe you have a greater desire to work with people in their later stages of life. In this case, you may get more satisfaction out of performing services as a geriatric respiratory therapist. This respiratory therapy job involves working with older adults to help them overcome lung-based issues (such as pneumonia or respiratory tract infections) or providing treatment for chronic cardiopulmonary conditions. As a geriatric respiratory therapist, you might work in a hospital setting, long-term care facility, or provide therapy services within the patient’s home.

Respiratory Therapy Job #4: Emergency Respiratory Therapist

If you want to work in a fast-paced setting, you can use your respiratory therapy degree to provide services in a hospital’s emergency room. Emergency respiratory therapists help patients who come in with breathing issues related to pneumonia or a bronchial infection. If a patient is in severe distress, you may also be called on to help ventilate the patient until they can breathe on their own.

Respiratory Therapy Job #5: Transport Respiratory Therapist

Another fast-paced respiratory therapy job involves providing services during patient transport. In this role, you would help patients breathe better while being transported in an ambulance or helicopter. Your role is to help them breathe as well as possible until they can get to the hospital and receive additional treatment services.

Respiratory Therapy Job #6: At-Home Respiratory Therapist

If you like the idea of working in different settings all the time, you can also use your respiratory therapy degree to go directly to patients’ homes and provide services there. In-home respiratory therapy may also be needed for patients with transportation issues and, therefore, find it difficult to go to a healthcare facility for diagnosis or treatment.

Respiratory Therapy Job #7: Sleep Disorder Respiratory Therapist

Some sleep disorders interrupt the breathing process. With sleep apnea, for instance, patients can stop breathing several times during the night. Not only does this reduce the quality of their sleep but the Mayo Clinic warns that sleep apnea can also have more serious consequences, some of which include blood pressure issues, heart problems, and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Sleep disorder respiratory therapists work in healthcare facilities that diagnose and treat these types of conditions.

Start Working Toward Your Respiratory Therapy Degree

If one of these respiratory therapy jobs looks interesting to you, Saint Leo University offers an online Bachelor of Science in respiratory therapy degree program that can help get you started in that career track. This program can be completed in two or three years—you choose the timeframe—and provides the knowledge and skills needed to work as a respiratory therapist.

In Saint Leo’s respiratory therapy degree program, students learn about effective healthcare communication and professional leadership when in a respiratory therapy role. Other courses that are part of this curriculum include Advanced Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology, Advanced Neonatal and Pediatric Respiratory Care, and Health Economics.

Contact our admissions office today to learn more about the requirements needed for entry into this accredited respiratory therapy program, or to begin the enrollment process. We look forward to helping you obtain the education needed to pursue the type of rewarding respiratory therapy job you desire.

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